Saturday, October 1 , 2022

Pet Scanner For Maharagama Cancer Hospital


By: Kaushalya Premachandra

National Cancer Institute, Maharagama which is also known as the Apeksha Hospital is still lacking a PET scanner. With 102% occupancy rate (NCI statistics 2014) and moreover with an average 16,500 patients identified each year, the hospital strives to battle cancer in their best possible standards.

For those who have struck by the life’s catastrophe been identified as cancer patients, the Apeksha Hospital is more than a friend in need. The Apeksha Hospital reaches out its hand towards those who have lost hope and courage for life and also affected physically, mentally and financially after fighting cancer for so long. In its great mission it pledges not to drop you out, not to leave you out when cancer strikes you. Instead it pledges to fight the struggle along with you.

Being more than a friend in need as much as those words could mean it, it also sheds happy tears with you when you win the battle against cancer. Unfortunately, its battle against cancer has not been easy without the most important PET scanner to treat cancer more carefully and accurately. Hence the need has been identified and donations are called for, to buy a brand new PET scanner which costs about 200 million in Sri Lankan Rupees.

After donating for this great course and with the inclination to help a little more I, like many others, want to do my part in spreading the word thinking there could still be people who have missed the news by any chance and also people who feel less inclined to donate for little knowing the significant role of a PET scanner in treating cancer.

Cancer is not about one of us but it is about all of us, so let us get together and we can do it.

Importance of A PET Scanner in Treating Cancer

Cancer occurs when cells in the body grows abnormally. Usually cells grow, divide and produce new cells to keep the healthy function of the body. However, things go astray when this natural procedure is overtaken by the cells that keep dividing and producing new cells when there is no need for new cells. Masses of extra cells form tumors which could be benign or malignant. Malignant tumors are cancerous and life threatening if not treated properly.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computed Tomography (CT) imaging are essential diagnostic tools the doctors use to reveal the presence and severity of cancers. A PET/CT scan helps physicians to detect cancers, evaluate the extent of growth, determine accurate treatments and dosage, determine the effectiveness of treatments and detect recurrent tumors.

Elaborating on the necessity of a PET scanner for diagnostic purposes of cancer Dr. Mahendra Somathilaka, consultant and paediatric oncologist at the Apeksha hospital states that there is no second chance to treat a cancer patient. One cannot go wrong at the staging and diagnosis of cancer as treatments are strong and could bring severe after effects on the patient. Therefore, staging cancer is very important to know the most accurate treatment, dosage and also to avoid inaccurate treatment that can result in the death of the patient. Without a PET scanner the doctors carry out a kind of guess work in determining the treatment. They could either under-treat or over-treat the patient not knowing the exact staging of the cancer as has further explained by Dr. Somathilaka in interviews made with him during the course of this period.

Therefore, in order to avoid the risks of cancer treatments by proper diagnosis and to improve the patient back to his normal health a PET scanner is a dire need for the National Cancer Institute of Maharagama.

The Determination of a Father Behind the Course

Dr. MSH Mohamed, the president of the Kadijah Foundation is a father of a son who is diagnosed with cancer since 13th January 2014. From this date that changed his entire life Mr. Mohamed is still struggling with his son the worst battle he has ever met in his whole life. He speaks out how it is likely to be a father of a child whose life battle requires more than he could have earned and done in this life and yet, after doing his utmost how it is likely for anyone to suffer physically, mentally and financially with hopes fading. He has described that “the tragedy of (his) life was slapped on (his) face” in his message in the Kadijah Foundation website.

Certainly as he says, those who have been hit by such a tragic fate only know that it is not only the patient but also everyone else around him that is affected by cancer. Mostly it affects the immediate family members physically, mentally and financially. After spending millions in India and in private hospitals Mr. Mohamed takes his son to the Apeksha Hospital for further treatment for cancer. Being mentally down to such a level he makes the decision to follow counseling with his family provided by the hospital itself. Amazed by the hospitality of the hospital staff towards his son and his family and also inspired by many other generous donors to the hospital Mr. Mohamed has not hesitated to ask at a counseling session as to what kind of help the hospital is in need.

The doctor at the counseling has replied that the hospital is in need of a PET scanner and a genetic lab certainly knowing that they are beyond anything that anyone can do alone for the hospital. However, shocked to be heard that the country’s leading national hospital for treating cancer is functioning without a PET scanner, Mr. Mohamed has pledged to bring one to the hospital. After spending millions on such a deadly disease and struggling for so long with his son’s cancer, he knows very well the necessity of a PET scanner to treat patients accurately. He has stated that his son has done about 8-10 PET scans so far, revealing that it costs about 150,000 for one scan at a private hospital in Sri Lanka.

It was unimaginable for this father to further hear from the counseling doctor that a PET scan costs about 200 million. Determined and resolute however, to buy one for the cancer hospital to serve every patient without a difference and to bring them hopes for life Mr. Mohamed kept the initial step forward in this regard the fulfillment of which is also his son’s wish. He says “a joyous tear from a cancer patient is well worth than a mere 200 million”.

Since the inauguration of this great course on 4th of March 2016 at BMICH many organizations despite race, religion and ethnicity have come together to help achieve the goal. With the help of those individuals and companies who pledged to help and many other random donors who have already donated, the hospital fund is slowly reaching its goal by even passing the 100 million margin by the 20th of May 2016. Donations are only welcomed to the National Cancer Institute, Maharagama bank account. The hospital and the Kadijah Foundation strictly disclaim donations by any other means.

This message is an appeal for all of you who could not still donate. How small or large you could donate does not matter. What matters is your kind heart, generosity and understanding the plight of lifelong battles of cancer patients. Let’s hurry up and donate, so that the day will soon arrive for us to donate a PET scan for our nation’s cancer hospital and to save many lives thereafter.

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